Our key-points on the war in Ukraine
1. The war in Ukraine is the latest in a sequence of traumatic events of these early years of the 21st century – wars, financial crises, the great recession, pandemic, ecological disasters – which together mark a historical crisis of the capitalist mode of production.
2. The war in Ukraine is not a war between Russia and Ukraine; it is a war between OTAN and Russia on Ukrainian territory, first occupied militarily by OTAN and politically by the United States and the EU, and then invaded by Russia. A war between powerful capitalist states, fought for the purpose of domination, which marks the official reopening of the struggle for a new partition of the world – the hegemony of the West on the world market, world politics, world culture having entered into crisis.
3. The responsibility for the outbreak of war lies with both sides in the conflict, and – fundamentally – with the social system to which they are a part. Putting ourselves to question about offense and defense would not make sense, since we are dealing with powerful states that coagulate capitalist interests and, not finding compromises on the economic and political level, move on to military confrontation. OTAN did not need to shoot because it had already taken Ukrainian ground economically and politically and with its own war settlements, completely ignoring the Minsk agreements. Russia could only compete for the booty, or part of the booty, with military means, and that’s what it did.
4. In turn, the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, especially Zelensky’s rented nationalism, has the unforgivable guilt of having made its territory available to OTAN war plans by throwing its population into the abyss of a bloody and destructive war, in the interest of Western overlords and a handful of Ukrainian profiteers – and to have exerted violent armed harassment on the population of Donbass with many thousands of deaths.
5. There are, of course, also questions of self-determination, both for the “Ukrainian people” and for the “Donbass people”, but they have been sucked up, subjugated by the war between the great capitalist powers. Authentic, true self-determination of one and the other can only be talked about only on the basis of the total clearing and demobilization of the US, OTAN and EU presence in Ukraine, and of the Russian military presence in the occupied territories.
6. From all this derives our central thesis: the war in Ukraine, for what it is and for what it prepares, is a war against the Ukrainian proletariat and against the Russian proletariat, against the proletariat of all countries. Because it is a slaughterhouse of proletarians, and because it requires a paroxysmal leap in quality in the competition, exploitation and oppression of the proletariat even outside Ukraine and Russia. The commanders of the two warring sides incite the Ukrainian proletarians and the Russian proletarians to lash out at each other, to be their slaughter fodder. The opposite delivery applies to proletarian internationalism: defeatism on both sides of the front against the oligarchs and generals of OTAN and Ukraine, against the oligarchs and generals of Russia and its allies. Our tasks are: denouncing the causes and the real content of the war, of the generalized rearmament in progress, of the tendency towards the third world war. Unmasking of war propaganda on both sides. Struggle for the unity of the proletarians of the whole world against global capital. To work with determination to form an international camp or front that will oppose both imperialist sides in contention.
7. Italy has been at war since day one, trying to combine its clear alignment with the United States and an unleashed russophobic campaign, with the effort not to break with Germany’s restraint policy. Italy is destined to pay a high price immediately for its greater dependence on energy from abroad, for the explosion of supply costs, for the level of its debt, etc. – but the ruling class accepts it in view of future gains, the reaffirmation of the domination of Western imperialism over the world to which it has linked its destiny. The élite of capital dreams of a Russia reduced to pieces, to be able to divide up its wealth. Every cry – we hear so many – about Italy as a colony, the servant of the United States contains worse nationalism, and the insane attitude of all reformists to want to teach capitalists how to best defend their interests.
8. Here in Italy, therefore, the struggle against the Italian government (Draghi first, Meloni now – in continuity with Draghi) and the Italian capitalist class, which are fueling the war in Ukraine in every way. “The main enemy is in your own country!”. We must get busy! We are very late: in understanding and in action. Shame on those who have sided with OTAN. Radical criticism of those who, openly or covertly, are with Russia believing in Putin disguised as Che Guevara and anti-Nazi partisan, forgetting his excellent acquaintances with pro-Nazi reactionaries and the European right; forgetting the treatment reserved for the Chechen, Syrian, Kazakh populations, etc.; forgetting that Tsarist Russia (to which Putin refers) was as a prison of peoples. Criticism without concessions also to the inertia of the pacifists, in fact so far absent from the camp if not pro-Ukrainians, and of the ecologists, almost indifferent to the first factor of destruction and devastation of human life: the wars of capital.
9. The war in Ukraine is destined to last because neither OTAN nor Russia can accept defeat. The only possibility that the war will end is that there will be a deep split in the internal front in Russia and Ukraine, with phenomena of defeatism in the armed forces (of which there is some sign) and with the entry into the field against the war of masses of exploited also in OTAN countries. We must give everything for this to happen.
10. For the United States, the war in Ukraine is two things in one: war on Russia and “war” on the EU, in particular on Germany, to sever its ever broader and more solid commercial and industrial ties with Russia and China and push it, with a dizzying increase in its production costs, towards a very deep crisis. While the United States has grabbed large profits for its war industry and the very expensive liquefied gas, the war has created serious problems for almost all EU countries for energy supplies, sanctions, etc. Furious clashes of interest have arisen within the EU. Germany’s decision to allocate 200 billion off-budget to support the industrial system and cover part of the cost of household bills is presented as a declaration of trade war on other EU countries, starting with Italy. In reality, however, a similar policy is followed by each state, only the means available differ – in the case of Italy, then, the support money is partly EU money.
11. There is a reverse side of the coin: at the international level the arrogance and bellicose adventurism of the United States, which intends to sow wars also in Asia, have dialectically strengthened the Russia-China ties and the push for autonomy of the BRICS, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc. among other things, causing the multiplication of trade agreements in currencies other than the dollar, a terrible threat to US financial dominance.
12. This war marks a point of no return in the passage of inter-capitalist contradictions on a world scale from an economic-commercial plan to a strategic-military one. And so far the action-reaction spiral is raising the level of the clash with the supply of long-range weapons for the Ukrainian army, the attacks on Russian soil, the sabotage of Nord Stream and – on the Russian side – the annexation of the Donbass. The risk of a world conflict being triggered is growing.
13. It is no coincidence that the war in Ukraine has cleared and “normalized” both the possibility of using nuclear weapons and the prospect of a third world war on both sides. The precipitation in this direction is opposed by China, India, etc. Although in words aligned with US adventurism, Germany also slows down, but after having allocated over 100 billion for its autonomous rearmament.
14. The ongoing war is speeding up the race to ecological catastrophe (destruction, air and water pollution, shale gas incentives, return to coal, further development of nuclear power, large-scale revival of war spending, etc.).
15. The price to pay for the consequences of the war on the Italian economy is great. The first to pay for it are the proletarians. But an important share of the production chains made up of small and medium-sized enterprises will also be affected, given that the immense profits of the monopoly companies in the energy and war sectors were not intended to be capped. Hence the uneasiness of the large sectors of the accumulative middle classes that inflated the “sovereignty” of Meloni and FdI.
16. The explosion in the prices of food and energy sources due in large part to financial speculation on war (which is an integral part of capitalism and cannot be punished “separately” as the reformists claim), combined with the rise in interest rates that inflated foreign debts, brought a series of dependent countries to their knees, with an explosion of massive movements of struggle or uprisings in Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Peru, Mozambique, etc. against the consequences of the crisis. But however radical they are, as long as there is no real revolutionary class organization, these movements – like the struggle responses in Europe – will inevitably be limited to fighting the effects of the crisis without being able to attack and eradicate its causes.
17. The great clashing capitalist powers try to hide and conceal, at least to a certain extent, their real aims of global or regional domination, with ethnic, historical, ideological, religious, cultural arguments. This propaganda, whose function in the process of military and non-military mass enlistment should not be underestimated, must be actively opposed. Opposing democracies to autocracies, freedom to tyranny, West to East, is nothing but shitty propaganda to convince everyone that war is inevitable and, after all, just, and that the sacrifices necessary for the war economy are just as inevitable and, after all, right.
18. The war in Ukraine is now bringing back the general inter-imperialist war as a possible final “solution” to a devastating systemic crisis that is slipping out of the hands of the world’s rulers. The end of the international order of stars and stripes is the sanction and multiplier of this uncontrollable systemic chaos, such from any side you look at it and measure it: overproduction of capital, commodities, labor power; falling profits on the long term; hypertrophy of fictitious capital and speculation; unlimited plunder of nature; social polarization; crisis of social reproduction; increased risk of epidemics. This growing shattering of the world capitalist order and the impossibility of its reform objectively reopen the doors to the anti-capitalist social revolution. Because the only possible alternative to a new increasingly looming global catastrophe is a new international revolutionary cycle that settles accounts with capitalism, before capitalism brings about the end of human civilization.
19. But so far – here in Italy, unlike in many other countries of the world, including the United States and Great Britain – the workers / proletarians have remained substantially passive in the face of the multiplication of the factors of social crisis. They seem not to understand what is at stake, in general and in this war. Unfortunately, we know little about what is happening in Russia and Ukraine. Here we can say that initially there was apprehension and some activism in the collection of “humanitarian aid” and towards refugees. Over the months, both apprehension and activism have waned. The concern for the war has not disappeared. However, with apathy, a certain resignation seems to prevail – “we will pay” – even, so far, in the face of the curtailment of wages due to inflation, which enriches those who have increased prices. The price to pay with tariffs, retail price inflation, the spike in the cost of mortgages will be much higher than expected, and will put many proletarians back to the wall. How long will this silence last? The mood of the masses is subject to changes, even sudden ones, which often leave the alleged “avant-gardes” stunned, and even the real ones. We count on the fundamental role of spontaneity but, not being spontaneists, we have been working for months to coordinate the forces available to an organized and stable activity, as homogeneous as possible, against this war and the wars of capital, centered on the internationalist class perspective.
20. Our action of counter-propaganda and agitation towards workers and young people can only start from the great material and ecological costs of the war, already tangible here too, but aims to broaden the angle of view of the workers, proletarians, young people towards the causes of war, the function of inter-capitalist wars and the only two ways of putting an end to wars: the strangling peace of the victors, or the defeat of both sides in the field with the emergence of another solution: ours.
21. Our first step concerns Italy, where we have participated and will continue to actively participate in any initiative that has a value, at least potential, of resistance and hindrance to the continuation of the war and the rearmament race (Coltano, etc.). But let’s think of an international coordination of all the forces moving in the same direction as us. In Germany, Greece, Great Britain and the Czech Republic, significant mobilizations are taking place, with which we can coordinate to unite the forces that recognize themselves in proletarian internationalism. It seems that, with extreme delay, also in Italy some components of Catholic pacifism, and not only, intend to strike a blow. Our intent will be to interact with these demonstrations and with everything that moves on the ground of the rupture of the war unanimism that prevails today, without retreating not even for a moment from the tasks of denunciation, organization and political battle that we consider essential.
8 October 2022, Internationalist Revolutionary Tendency